Lighten up your inner world even more and get even freer.
What is non-physical clutter and how does it hold you back? Get oriented to this topic in part one of this series here.
Here are four more types of non-physical clutter and how to clear them.
1. Excess Worry and Overwhelm
It is natural for all of us to have a certain amount of stress, and to react to some situations with a sense of worry. But when you can’t seem to calm yourself down, or when worry and stress become the default, your brain and body suffer.
Luckily, just as we can inadvertently get into such habits, we can also take steps to intentionally turn them around.
While worry and overwhelm are forms of non-physical clutter, clearing your physical clutter can actually go a long way toward helping you heal them. When your space feels light, clean, and organized, you will feel safer, clearer, and more in control of your world.
You can also help turn worry and overwhelm around with mindfulness practices like daily meditation and self-compassion, as well as yoga, dance, and other forms of conscious movement. While such practices will certainly provide a degree of relief in the short term, their real power reveals itself when you show up for them again and again over time. Like water dripping on a stone, this will allow you to carve out new mental grooves that will open the way to greater peace, joy, and personal power.
2. Limiting Beliefs and Negative Expectations
Any time you notice yourself saying or thinking something like, “I never win anything,” “No one listens to me,” or, “Of course something like this would happen to me,” you are presented with a choice. You get to choose if you would like to continue believing such a thing, or if you would like to change that belief to a more empowering one.
The tricky thing about limiting beliefs and negative expectations is that your experience often seems to prove that they are true. But the power comes in when you realize they are not objectively true. They are true only to the extent that you believe them, and expect them, and interact with the world from that place. They are self-perpetuating.
And, just as you have held challenging conditions in place through believing such things, you can hold positive, expansive, and lucky conditions in place through believing them instead.
When you notice a limiting belief or expectation, don’t beat yourself up! We all pick up such beliefs and expectations along the way, and they’re nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, celebrate – making a limiting belief conscious is good news! Because once you notice it for what it is (a belief – nothing more), it need not continue to be true.
Start by questioning the belief: is it really true that you never win anything? Have you ever won anything, ever? Even if you haven’t, is it actually logical that this means you will never ever win anything in the future? What if you will? What if you will win often?
What if is a helpful phrase that opens up avenues of magical possibility. You can begin to shift old beliefs and adopt new ones by asking yourself things like: What if the universe is on my side? What if everything is always working out for me? What if everyone is always helpful? What if something wonderful is about to happen?
3. False Roles and Personal Myths
Our minds conceptualize and actually build our realities with the stories we tell ourselves. Sometimes, we tell ourselves stories about our very own selves that aren’t actually accurate, or at least don’t need to continue to be true.
For example, perhaps in childhood your room was always a mess, and the way your parents spoke to you about it caused you to believe that you are simply “a slob.” When in reality, most kids have messy rooms. A childhood behavior needn’t define your identity for the rest of your life.
Maybe your brother was always “the athletic one,” so you believe that you are too “clumsy” or “uncoordinated” to even attempt to exercise.
In early adulthood, you could have bounced some checks and now you think you’re “terrible with money.”
Look at the ways you define yourself and ask yourself if all your judgments and beliefs about your character are accurate, or need to continue to be accurate. If you think you’re a slob, could it actually be true that you might excel at keeping your space clean? If you think exercise is impossible, might there be some gentle kind of movement you would actually do well at and enjoy? If you bounced checks in your early 20s, can you see how you were facing the dual challenges of still learning how to be a responsible adult while you were also tragically strapped for cash? This would be an opportunity to send compassion to your young, broke self, and to realize that – with neither challenge still in place – you might not be so bad with money after all.
We can’t help telling ourselves stories about who we are and how we interact with the world. But we can continually investigate and upgrade the stories we tell.
4. Habitual Self-Consciousness and Social Discomfort
When I first started to hang out with people again after lockdown, I was out of practice. Even as my heart yearned to connect, I felt awkward and anxious around friends and strangers alike.
The thing about isolation is that it can breed more isolation. Without sufficient social support, we can begin to feel suspicious of others, and uncomfortable in their presence. Like, Do they like me? Are they going to reject me? Are they even now judging me, or thinking disparaging thoughts about me?
When I was getting back in the habit of feeling comfortable in social settings, self-compassion was my go-to tool. As Dr. Kristin Neff’s research shows, we can place a hand on our heart and acknowledge that we are suffering. Then we can remember that everyone else, also, suffers at times in a similar way. The next step is to choose to send ourselves kindness, understanding, and love.
When you get in the habit of being kind and compassionate with yourself, you offer yourself the support and affection you desire. Then, desperation need not be your default when you spend time with others. Your very human need for validation has a head start, and you don’t need to rely on others as much to supply it. Even in the midst of an awkward moment, you can place a hand on your heart, remind yourself that temporary social awkwardness is a universal human experience, and feel less alone.
I hope you enjoyed part 2 of this series. Let me know in the comments.
And, if you’d like support with letting go of old patterns, habits, and stories that are holding you back, that’s one of my specialties! I’d love for you to check out my Akashic clearing work and schedule a session with me soon.